The mission of the Woodbury Public Library is to strengthen and empower the community by using multiple media platforms and technologies to provide information, services, and programs that educate, inspire, entertain, and advance understanding and quality of life for people of all ages.
It is the Library’s vision to be the first choice for authoritative information; offer lifelong learning, entertainment, and inspiration; excel in customer service; assure equitable access to all resources and services, and be a dynamic force in our community
History of the Library
Woodbury’s first library was established in 1772, but was in existence for only a few years. Today’s library has its roots in the Woodbury Library Association, which began in 1851 with a collection of 200 books and was located on the second floor of the Town Hall.
The Library was governed by a few basic rules.
Books could be drawn on the first Thursday of each month, and three-cent fines were levied for damages such as turned down pages or ink spots.
Lending Policy Circa 1930
On June 14th, 1897 all assets of the Woodbury Library Association were transferred to the Town of Woodbury.
After 1902 the library was housed in the former Parker Academy building. Initially, the library only occupied the first floor, but by the 1960’s it occupied all three floors, with the children’s floor in the basement. The Parker Academy building was lowered in 1980, when the current library was constructed. The new building brought many changes, but the most important was having a place for patrons to sit and even have meetings. The building underwent renovations in 1997.
Today, our 12,000-square-foot building houses 93,000 items in a facility designed for 60,000 items.
We have evolved with the times in the past 10 to 12 years by updating children’s and teen services, updating the Gallery, offering more programming, and incorporating more technology.
Fred The Cat
Fred was a black and white stray cat that came to live at the Woodbury Public Library in 1976. Previously, Fred had been freeloading at the local Police Department, but she decided to find a permanent warm home inside the Library. She lived the contented life of a fat and well-loved cat, mostly in the Children’s Department in a special cardboard box. She was a local celebrity.
Then in 1984, the fur flew! A Woodbury resident, complaining of cat allergies and phobias, wrote to the Governor of Connecticut that she couldn’t use her local library. The citizens rose up in defense of Fred. School children passed out petitions in support of Fred remaining in the Library. After investigation by town attorneys, the Library Board of Trustees voted to allow Fred to remain in her home for the rest of her natural life. This controversy propelled Fred and the Town of Woodbury into the national spotlight, including coverage in The New York Times, People Magazine and television. Fred passed away in December of 1986 of natural causes at the age of fourteen, but her legacy lives on in the Woodbury Public Library forever.